Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Moving or capable of moving with great speed; fast. synonym: fast.
  • adjective Coming, occurring, or accomplished quickly.
  • adjective Quick to act or react.
  • adverb Swiftly. Often used in combination.
  • noun A cylinder on a carding machine.
  • noun A reel used to hold yarn as it is being wound off.
  • noun Any of various small dark insect-eating birds of the family Apodidae, having long pointed wings and a short forked tail, and noted for their swift flight.
  • noun Any of various small, fast-moving North American lizards, especially of the genus Sceloporus.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Moving with great speed, celerity, velocity, or rapidity; fleet; rapid; speedy.
  • Ready; prompt; quick.
  • Of short continuance; swiftly or rapidly passing.
  • noun The swifter part of a stream; the current.
  • noun An adjustable machine upon which a skein of yarn, silk, or other thread is put, in order that it may be wound off.
  • noun The main card-cylinder in a flax-carding machine.
  • noun A bird of the family Cypselidæ: so called from its rapidity of flight.
  • noun A breed of domestic pigeons, of which there are several color-varieties.
  • noun The common newt or eft.
  • noun One of several small lizards which run with great swiftness, as the common brown fence-lizard of the United States, Sceloporus undulatus. See cut under Sceloporus.
  • noun A ghost-swift, ghost-moth, or goat-moth; one of the Epialidæ: so called from the rapid flight.
  • noun A goat-moth, Epialus vellida.
  • In a swift or rapid manner; swiftly.
  • To reef (a sail).
  • noun A tackle used in tightening standing rigging.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun rare The current of a stream.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of small, long-winged, insectivorous birds of the family Micropodidæ. In form and habits the swifts resemble swallows, but they are destitute of complex vocal muscles and are not singing birds, but belong to a widely different group allied to the humming birds.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of several species of lizards, as the pine lizard.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The ghost moth. See under Ghost.
  • noun A reel, or turning instrument, for winding yarn, thread, etc.; -- used chiefly in the plural.
  • noun The main card cylinder of a flax-carding machine.
  • adjective Moving a great distance in a short time; moving with celerity or velocity; fleet; rapid; quick; speedy; prompt.
  • adjective Of short continuance; passing away quickly.
  • adverb Obs. or Poetic Swiftly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective fast; quick; rapid.
  • adjective Capable of moving at high speeds.
  • noun obsolete The current of a stream.
  • noun A small plain-colored bird (of the family Micropodidæ) that resembles a swallow and is noted for its rapid flight. Common European swift: Cypselus, ∨ Micropus, apus. The common American, or chimney, swift: Chætura pelagica. The Australian swift: Chætura caudacuta. The European Alpine swift: Cypselus melba. The common Indian swift: Cypselus affinis.
  • noun A western fence lizard, swift, blue-belly, Sceloporus occidentalis -- (common western lizard; seen on logs or rocks)
  • noun The ghost moth.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun United States meat-packer who began the use of refrigerated railroad cars (1839-1903)
  • noun an English satirist born in Ireland (1667-1745)
  • adjective moving very fast
  • noun a small bird that resembles a swallow and is noted for its rapid flight
  • noun common western lizard; seen on logs or rocks

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English swift ("swift, quick"), from Proto-Germanic *swiftaz (“swift, quick”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)weip-, *(s)weib- (“to twist, wind around”). Cognate with Icelandic svipta ("to pull quickly"), Old English swīfan ("to revolve, sweep, wend, intervene"). More at swivel.

Examples

  • Thoas rules [8] the land, o'er barbarians, [Thoas,] who guiding his foot swift as the pinion, has arrived at this epithet [of Thoas, i.e. _the swift_] on account of his fleetness of foot.

    The Tragedies of Euripides, Volume I.

  • They believe that people, when they hear the term swift boat, know that this -- or believe that that is sort of a code for underhanded politics.

    CNN Transcript Aug 13, 2008

  • They believe that people when they hear the term swift boat, know that this -- or believe that that is sort of a code for underhanded politics.

    CNN Transcript Aug 13, 2008

  • Congressman John Murtha is blasting what he calls swift boat style attacks stemming from his fight with Steny Hoyer.

    CNN Transcript Nov 15, 2006

  • Congressman John Murtha today is blasting what he calls swift boat style attacks stemming from his fight with Steny Hoyer.

    CNN Transcript Nov 14, 2006

  • He is not r-rich, Max, and he is a little what you call swift, eh?

    A Tar-Heel Baron

  • Suddenly they encountered what we call the swift kick.

    A Straight Deal or The Ancient Grudge

  • Judge had three or four track-hounds, and four of which he called swift-hounds, the latter including one pure-bred greyhound bitch of wonderful speed and temper, a dun-colored yelping animal which was a cross between a greyhound and a fox-hound, and two others that were crosses between a greyhound and a wire-haired Scotch deer-hound.

    Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches

  • Analysts upgraded their target price for the company's stock on what they characterized as a swift turnaround in performance at the 90-plus-year-old firm, which has about $108-billion U.S. in assets.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Analysts upgraded their target price for the company's stock on what they characterized as a swift turnaround in performance at the 90-plus-year-old firm, which has about $108-billion U.S. in assets.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

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